Los Angeles-based Miner is on the rise. Growing from a home studio Kickstarter project, the contemporary folk band started as husband-wife duo Justin and Kate Miner in 2012 and expanded to include Jeremy Miner and three other close friends. Since then, the band has been steadily building their support base throughout the West Coast, riding the swell of popular interest in indie folk music. Their debut album, Into the Morning, is due Feb. 25.
Into the Morning begins with a sense of awakening in opening song “Dawn,” where layered harmonies and limited instrumentals resemble a traditional folk style a la Fleet Foxes. The album as a whole relates to love found and love lost and the difficulty of moving on; these themes are exemplified in the lyrics of the album’s two singles, “Hey Love” and “Carousel.” From Into the Morning‘s start to end, a listener can trace the emotional progression of a relationship. Recurring contrasts between light and dark also give the album fluidity.
Brighter songs, like “Golden Ocean” and “Hey Love” boast captivating verses filled with banjo, mandolin, and guitar accompaniment. “Hey Love,” in particular, build to huge choruses that call out, “Hold up your hands if you hear me / I’m coming honey, hold on, hold on / Lift up the sun with your love / I’ve been laying low for so long, so long.” Others, like “Big Sur” and “Lovely,” evoke the idealism of young love and advocate a return to the simple truth and beauty of nature. Their infectious banjo melodies are mirrored by the lyrical cadence, and vocal trade-offs between Justin and Kate mime banter similar to that in Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ “Home.” Both of these tracks, as well as the aforementioned “Dawn,” draw on the roots of folk music and counterbalance darker, more complex songs such as “Heaven Knows and “Coal Mine” with brighter, organic overtones.
Another more contemplative song, “Come What Come May,” starts powerfully and rounds out the album’s overlying theme with a strong narrative. The song tells the story of a humble man trying to prove his worth to his love, urging her to remain conscious. “If you’re sailing with your head turned back,” sings the band, “You’ll never see my lonely lighthouse guide your way.” It’s a thoughtful note on which to begin to close the album. Bird sounds, and simple guitar also carry lyrics that speak of “hiding from the end but it’s already begun,” and pleas to “take my soiled name and return it to the sea.” As the cello of “Come What Come May” fades, the message of letting go is backed by a powerful hope that there will be healing down the road in the “Golden Age,” the album’s finale.
While certain elements of this album can be related to the works of other successful groups of the indie folk genre, Miner has achieved a completely original sound in their debut album. Catchy singles and a highly-developed, fluid album speaks wonders to the band’s creative engine and proves that there is endless room for exploration and ingenuity in contemporary folk music. Fitting with the message of Into the Morning, it is safe to assume that big things await Miner as they plunge into the dawn of their career.
Article by Conner Smith